The Mets entered this offseason with a multitude of personnel decisions to make, and one of the larger ones is who would be playing third base come Opening Day.
At the winter meetings, new President of Baseball Operations David Stearns said they planned to keep the third base job in-house.
“I think it is important for us as an organization to learn about our younger players and to provide them with opportunity at the major league level,” Stearns said.“That doesn’t have to be all on Opening Day, but over the course of the year, we’ve got to learn about these guys.”
However, that plan had a wrench put in it on Tuesday.
Mauricio got injured Sunday night during a Dominican Winter League game when he stopped himself in his tracks during an apparent steal attempt before proceeding to limp off the field.
What do the Mets do now?
This is a significant blow to the Mets’ plan for 2024. Mauricio was the favorite to land the third base job ahead of Baty, Vientos, and the recently signed Joey Wendle.
With the Dominican Republic native out for at least the first half of 2024, if not the whole campaign, the blue and orange may have to pivot from their plan to keep the job in-house.
Could the Mets reunite with a former player?
If Stearns and company decide to look elsewhere, a potential option could be free agent Justin Turner.
Turner played for the Mets from 2011-14 before having nine successful seasons for the Dodgers, where the California native became a consistent bat in the middle of their lineup while making multiple all-star appearances and winning the 2020 World Series.
The 39-year-old spent 2023 in Boston, where he had another impressive campaign, slashing .276/.345/.455 with 23 home runs and 96 RBIs across 146 games.
While Turner spent most of the 2023 season as the Red Sox’s designated hitter and first baseman, the California Native can still be effective at the hot corner while producing at the plate.
If Turner is willing to return to New York on an affordable deal, he could be the perfect veteran for a Mets squad retooling in 2024 and looking to win it all in 2025.